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Boston Bar Association Recognizes COVID Relief Coalition with Empowerment Award as Part of 2020 Beacon Awards for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The COVID Relief Coalition, a group of law firms (including Mintz), nonprofits, and government agencies in Massachusetts dedicated to providing relief and resources for small business and nonprofits, has been selected as the recipient of the Boston Bar’s Association (BBA)’s 2020 Empowerment Award. Presented in conjunction with the BBA’s 2020 Beacon Awards for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the Empowerment Award recognizes a powerful advocate that works to create systemic change in the wider community by amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups and advancing civil rights, access to justice, and/or diversity, equality, and inclusion. Members and leaders of the COVID Relief Coalition will be honored at the BBA’s virtual Beacon Awards ceremony on January 28, 2021.

The COVID Relief Coalition was established earlier this year to help small businesses and nonprofits in the greater Boston area access emergency loans and other sources of relief. Mintz is among the law firm partners of the Coalition, and as part of this partnership, many of the firm’s attorneys have offered much-needed pro bono legal assistance.

“We are proud to play a small but critical role in lifting up the Commonwealth’s small business and nonprofits, many of which are really struggling and in dire need of financial or other relief to mitigate the effects of COVID-19,” said Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee Susan M. Finegan. “It’s wonderful and fitting that the BBA has chosen to honor the Coalition with its 2020 Empowerment Award.”

In response to COVID-19, Mintz has supported and launched a number of innovative pro bono efforts, providing pro bono legal assistance to individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic. For example, Mintz launched a first-of-its-kind pro bono initiative led by the firm’s Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice — in partnership with legal services organizations, attorneys in the Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice have been providing pro bono employment law services to income-screened small businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic.

Separately, Ms. Finegan served as Chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission (AJC)’s COVID-19 Task Force, a committee of lawyers, judges, social service advocates, law school representatives, and bar leaders focused on increasing statewide access to justice during the pandemic. The latest iteration of Mintz’s annual pro bono journal, Resilience, featured the work of Ms. Finegan and the AJC to help litigants without access to lawyers or technology or limited English-language proficiency after the pandemic prompted court buildings to close across the state.

The BBA’s Beacon Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and corporations who are forging innovative paths toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive profession and greater community.

Mintz has long taken pride in driving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and at the firm. On Juneteenth, 2020, Mintz Managing Member Bob Bodian announced initial steps to address racial disparity in the law and long-term barriers to equity, including examining firm processes and procedures from an antiracism lens, and continuing to undertake social justice reform work on a pro bono basis, among several other actions. Additionally, Mintz recently appointed Narges M. Kakalia as the firm’s first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Learn more about the 2020 Beacon Awards honorees here.

Learn more about Mintz’s pro bono efforts here.

Learn more about Mintz’s diversity efforts here.